Awesome church service… including refugees from Burundi
We had a cool experience at church yesterday.
First, we’re in our eighth week of a Holy Spirit outpouring, which I blogged about a while ago. Related to that, we’ve been having extra-long church services, with 50 minutes+ of worship, then about 10 or 15 minutes of a message from Pastor Dennis, then the worship team comes back up, and there’s an extended time of more worship, ministry, and the prophetic, with more of a… free-wheeling atmosphere than we’ve previously had in our church. I mean, there’s a lot more spontanaeity than our fairly highly-structured pastor has facilitated before. Church starts at 10:00, and typically ends around 11:40, but lately has been getting over at 12:45 or 1:45. Not everyone stays that long, but many do. It’s been tiring but exciting, and there have been lots of reports of salvation, healings, and “just” generally being impacted by the Holy Spirit in a way that extends to one’s whole life, not just on Sunday at church.
So, that’s cool in itself.
What made yesterday especially dynamic was, at church, we had a family of Burundi refugees visit. Here’s the family: Five adult brothers, each (I think) who were married, plus their children (a lot of them), plus the brothers’ parents, and some other extended family members. There were at least 30 or 40 of them, altogether, from a three-week-old baby, up to a matriarch who had to be in her 70s or 80s.
Just a couple of weeks ago, this family was placed in Phoenix. One of the brothers has managed to get a job and an apartment, and members from our church are furnishing it for him. I’m not even sure how he was led to our church — a pastor-friend of Dennis’ who somehow was acquainted with the refugees said, “Hey, I know a pastor who has spent a lot of time in Africa…” (In fact, Dennis left yesterday and will be in mostly-Africa for nearly a month.) So, somehow, they ended up at our church.
Another of the brothers from Burundi was a pastor in Africa — his last church was at a refugee camp in Tanzania. He’d like to start a church in the Phoenix, and our church will likely help them with that.
Anyways. During the 10 minute “sermon” from Dennis, he introduced the refugee family, and he asked them to sing… which they did. It was awesome, a call-and-response sort of song, which they said was about life being better under the Kingdom of Jesus. After our “normal” extended service, they were all gathered around the front of the church, and Dennis asked them to sing again. This time, it was with all the kids, too, from toddlers to teens, and with several of them playing percussion (as well as our most-excellent drummer, Bobby, drumming, too)… They sang several worship songs, all intricate call-and-response, with dancing, too, of course.